How to Choose a Holistic Practitioner

Three Parts:Finding a Holistic DoctorEvaluating a Holistic PractitionerLearning What Holistic Medicine Can Do

Although conventional medicine is still the norm for most people, holistic medical practices are becoming more and more popular. Holistic medical practitioners focus on the entirety of a patient's condition, including their mental states, attitudes, environments, emotions and social connections. As popular as holistic medicine is becoming, finding a qualified and legitimate practitioner can be a challenge. Learning more about how you can identify a qualified holistic medicine practitioner will help you get the care you need.

Part 1
Finding a Holistic Doctor

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    Learn what a holistic doctor does. A holistic doctor will compliment your conventional medical treatments with alternative practices. The exact methods a holistic doctor will use to help improve your health will depend on their personal background and your own needs. Holistic medicine and medical practices will aim to compliment conventional practices and treat every aspect of your self.[1]
    • Ask your primary doctor about any holistic practices you might be considering.
    • Holistic medicine will often address all aspects of a person, not just the physical symptoms.
    • Holistic medicine aims to treat and prevent disease.
    • Your physical symptoms will be addressed in connection with your emotional, social, mental and spiritual states.
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    Look for qualified holistic practitioners. Often times, holistic practitioners will have an educational background in both conventional medicine and holistic practices. When you are evaluating any holistic practitioner, make sure they have undergone and completed training and education in both conventional and holistic medical practices. This dual training will allow them to address all areas of your personal health.[2][3]
    • Many holistic doctors will be registered with groups like the AANP or the AHHA.
    • You can search online databases, like the one found here
    • Ask your primary doctor for recommendations.
    • Ask your primary doctor for their opinion about a holistic practitioner that you are considering.
    • Hospitals and medical schools may be able to refer you to a holistic practitioner.
    • Don't be afraid to ask to see a holistic practitioner's credentials. A genuine holistic practitioner will be willing to share this information with you.
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    Be aware of scams. Legitimate holistic doctors will be credentialed and educated individuals. However, there may be individuals who claim to be a holistic practitioner without any of the qualifications. To help you identify a potential scam, you'll want to keep an eye out for some of the following warning signs:[4]
    • Anyone offering “miracles” or unrealistic promises.
    • Anyone offering a treatment that can cure an unrealistic variety of aliments.
    • Anyone who offers only testimonials and is unable to present any scientific evidence for their practice.
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    Check if your insurance covers holistic medicine. Before you make an appointment with a holistic practitioner, you'll want to check if your insurance will help pay for that appointment. Knowing if your insurance covers a visit can help you learn if meeting with a holistic practitioner is right for you. Review what treatments and practices your insurance covers before making an appointment.[5]
    • You will need to ask your insurance provider directly to learn if they cover holistic medicine.
    • Make sure you know which holistic practices are covered. Your insurance may cover only specific treatments.
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    Continue your conventional treatments. Holistic medicine is not meant to replace your conventional medical treatments. The practices and techniques of holistic medicine work best when they are done in conjunction with the practices of your primary doctor. Do not discontinue your conventional medical care in favor of an entirely holistic approach. [6]

Part 2
Evaluating a Holistic Practitioner

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    Ask yourself how you feel about your holistic practitioner. You'll want to ask yourself if you feel fully comfortable with how your holistic practitioner has arranged their practice. You should feel at ease with the practitioner, their staff and the space that they offer treatments in. Make sure that the way in which the practice is run is a good fit for your needs.[7]
    • Staff should treat you with courtesy and respect.
    • Information about which treatments you will receive should be clearly displayed.
    • There should be no hidden charges or fees.
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    Decide how you feel about your relationship to your holistic practitioner. Since the care provided by a holistic practitioner is often personal, you'll want to feel very comfortable with the person treating you. You should feel at ease when sharing your symptoms, concerns and opinions with them. Your practitioner should also be accepting and understanding, helping you to feel comfortable during your visits. [8]
    • Ask yourself if you feel comfortable sharing medical details with your practitioner.
    • You shouldn't feel nervous when asking your practitioner about a treatment or their recommendations.
    • Communication should be open, respectful and positive.
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    Decide if your personal needs are being respected. Although your holistic practitioner will administer alternative treatments, they will still need to behave like a medical professional. Your holistic practitioner should respect your privacy, understand what treatments you are comfortable with and won't push you into doing anything you don't feel is right for you. Make sure your holistic practitioner fully respects your personal and medical needs.[9]
    • If you are nervous or anxious about your medical condition or a treatment, a good holistic practitioner will take note and work with those anxieties.
    • An examination of your symptoms or medical condition should never violate your personal dignity or respect.
    • You should never be forced or coerced into receiving a treatment that you aren't comfortable with.
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    Evaluate the personal health practices of your holistic practitioner. It's recommended that you take a look at your holistic health practitioner's personal health habits. If your practitioner engages in unhealthy behaviors themselves, you may want to find someone who takes their own advice. Make sure your practitioner believes in and practices their own holistic techniques. [10]
    • For example, a holistic practitioner that smokes may not be a good choice.
    • Your holistic practitioner should be as dedicated to their own health as you are to yours.
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    Tell your primary doctor about your complimentary treatments. Although you may feel great after a holistic treatment, you'll still want to tell your primary doctor which treatments you are receiving. Your primary doctor will be able to clinically judge the effects the treatments are having on your health. Your primary doctor may also be able to warn you, should a certain treatment be having a negative effect on your health. Keep your primary doctor up-to-date to see the best results from your holistic treatments.[11]
    • Give your doctor the details about any holistic treatments you are receiving.
    • Ask both your primary doctor and your holistic practitioner for evidence that a treatment works.
    • A good holistic practitioner will be ready to work with your primary doctor's instructions.

Part 3
Learning What Holistic Medicine Can Do

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    Discover which treatments holistic doctors offer. Holistic doctors utilize a wide range of treatments and aim to address your overall "well being", instead of focusing on symptoms alone. Knowing which techniques a holistic doctor might use can help you learn if this style of treatment is right for you. Take a look at these examples to gain an understanding of which treatments a holistic doctor might offer:[12]
    • Conventional medicine
    • Nutrition
    • Exercise
    • Homeopathy
    • Prayer
    • Acupuncture
    • Meditation
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    Find the treatments that are right for you. Holistic doctors will offer and recommend a variety of treatments that will address your specific medical conditions. Chances are, you'll be able to rely on the advice of both your regular doctor and your holistic practitioner. However, knowing which treatments to ask about can help you receive the holistic treatments that are right for you. Take a look at some of these common holistic treatments and the symptoms they can help manage:[13]
    • Acupuncture can help with headaches, neck and back pain, nausea and migraines.
    • Reflexology is thought to reduce tension and pressure in nearly all areas of the body.
    • Aromatherapy is believed to manage pain, depression, anxiety and insomnia.
    • Hypnosis may help with smoking cessation, diet or weight control, fear management and pain management.
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    Learn which conditions a holistic doctor can treat. Holistic medicine can be used to address a wide range of symptoms and health issues. Holistic practitioners will also aim to prevent disease. Despite the versatility of holistic techniques, they should be complimentary to conventional medical treatments. Ask both your regular doctor and your holistic practitioner for more information about the conditions they can treat and how they can be treated.[14]
    • Always tell your regular doctor about any holistic treatments you are considering.
    • Be aware of any exaggerated claims made by a holistic practitioner.
    • You may want to find another holistic practitioner if they ask you to stop receiving conventional medical treatments.

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Categories: Alternative Health | Breathing and Meditation